Golfing In India
Golfing in India? Here is the inside scoop…
Listen as Peter from Go Golfing has a chat with Vikram from the Delhi Golf Club (DGC) and Khavir from our partners over at Secrets of India.
The boys are keen to share with you what they have planned to show you a new side of India – with a generous helping of absolute decadence on the side!
Hear about the DGC’s stance on caddies, what’s been upgraded (at no extra cost!) on the tour and what the weather will be like – no, really! (Hint: pack a cardigan!)
Check the tour out for yourself here
Read the transcript below:
Thank you firstly Vikram, for agreeing to join us and have a chat.
You know, obviously there’s a wonderful link between Australia and India, …mostly because of Ricky Ponting.
Vikram, delighted that you could join the GO golfing community to have a little chat today about our India tour coming up in January 2023 and one of the highlight golf courses on the tour is indeed Delhi Golf Club and you’ve been a golf professional there for the last 22 years. Can you tell us a little bit about the history of the golf course at Delhi Golf Club?
It was built in the the time of the British late 1920s, early 30s. I was 18 hole golf course.
It was cut through a forest, and this was basically, you’ll find a lot of monuments of the Lodi area, which was around the 16 or 1700s, where the, you know, the Muggles and that period of history it was designed by an Englishman around 1930.
And then it was redesigned by an Australian golfer, five-time British Open champion – you know who I’m talking about.
So, Peter Thompson was very good friend of one of our committee members here, so Peter was asked to come over, look at the golf course.
And that time, golf was pretty nascent in India and not many people used to play. It started catching up. And then we needed a little bit of a capacity increase as far as space went.
So, Peter then designed an additional nine whole facility which we called the Peacock course and he redesigned the- and relaid, in fact, the main course, which is the Lodhi course – so we have the Lodhi course, which is our main course, and then the Peacock course, which is the executive course, which is a 9 hole, small power 31 power 5, two power force, and the rest of Part 3.
So, anybody coming in for a quick round of golf in the morning before office can just go play nine holes and then get down to work, right? So that’s how it works.
Now, Delhi Golf Club is iconic in the sense that it was the start of the Indian Open where there were two basic golf courses in in India.
One was in Calcutta, and one was in New Delhi, and the one in Calcutta was the first hour golf course outside the British Isles. So that was built in India in the late 1800s. So, Delhi Golf Club is now 18 holes facility and it’s been redesigned a year ago by Gary Player, so you’ll be playing on a Gary Player course, high elevated greens. We don’t have any water bodies on the DGC and we have a lot of forests as you can see behind me so, you leave the fairway and you’re in trouble, and the forests really don’t give you a chance to play a recovery shot.
So it’s a tight course. It’s not very long. It’s 6700 yards from the Blues and about 69 from the blacks. That’s the championship Tees. Dreaded by most professionals because the wind can play havoc, but it’s a very interesting track.
I think you’ve scared off most of the viewers, Vikram, with your description of the golf course. And it’s difficulty!
The Go Golfing community will be pleased to know we play the Irish drop. So, in the unlikely event that one of our golfers was to go off the fairway and into the forested areas there of Delhi Golf Club, then we just take a drop on the point of entry.
But the course looks in sensational condition. You panned around just before our chat today and it looks stunningly green.
It’s the end of the monsoon, right? So it’s lush and it’s green. Doesn’t turn very much colour during the winters because winters can get down to, about, between 15 and 20 degrees centigrade in the daytime. It’s a great, great time to play.
The course opened after two months of the first COVID wave, and you’ll be surprised!
We ran short of equipment on the shelves because so many people wanted to get out and start playing the game. And I as a coach – I didn’t have time to breathe!
There was an influx of golfers and I think probably we had in New Delhi about four or five thousand new golfers coming in – that was unprecedented.
New Delhi and around New Delhi. I love them to come because we have a Jack Nicklaus designed golf course, which you would be playing on is the ITC classic.
Then you have JP. Which is, uh, Greg Norman design, you know, deep bunkers, huge cranes. That’s really nice course.
When we go to Jaipur, which is Ram bug, it’s a nice course if it’s a short course, but it’s nicely laid out tournament course, it’s in a very historically Jaipur. Jaipur is the centre of Rajasthan. You’ll enjoy a lot of heritage, sort of colour, lot of the old forks and the heritage of lot of wars being fought between different sections of society.
It’s great. You’ll really enjoy it. And we have the Oxford which is in Pune. That was one of the first designer golf courses which was opened in West India.
That’s a really nice design. Then there is Willington Golf Club is in Mumbai, a small course in the middle of a very, very busy city, extremely busy city, the heart, the financial hub of India.
Is, is Mumbai. It’s right next to a race course and it was also designed at the time of the British, when they were here.
So it’s a short course, but it’s really interesting. Gentlemen and ladies coming from India. All golfers coming from India will have a great experience. Our hospitality is great. They’ll surely enjoy it.
And what we’re trying to do at Delhi Golf Club is get some of the members to play with your group that comes in because we tee off in pairs and in groups of four and then three of your golfers and probably one of the Delhi Golf Club player would be there and that’s great interaction. Would be a pleasure to have you all over.
That’s fantastic. I know we’ve had wonderful hospitality from the deli Golf Club members and – and the management and they really look after us when we come to Delhi Golf Club.
And it’s a pleasure, Vikram. Just one other thing: Is playing with the Caddy a normal part of the Indian golf experience?
Absolutely! Nobody plays without a caddy on Delhi Golf Club. It’s mandatory to have a caddy because, you know, they replace your divots, they will tell you and directly on the line – it’s great fun playing with the Caddy because when I went to Scotland with some kids which I used to take out every year, the first day, we hired caddies – and we didn’t know they were so expensive!
But they, they told you everything about the history of the course. You know the course backwards. They will tell you lines. It’s a great experience to play with the Caddy.
Vikram, I want to thank you for your time. I know that coming to Delhi Golf Club will be a highlight on the GO Golfing Tour which is from 26th of January to the 11th.
I look forward to having you there.
Yeah. Thank you so much.
Well, friends and go golfing, we’ve got a little bit of a treat for you today. We’ve got Khavir. He’s the representative from Secrets of India.
He’s based in India and we’ve had a wonderful working relationship with them to deliver some amazing golf tours to India over the years. Welcome to go golfing, Khavir.
Good morning, Peter. Thank you very much.
Uh, from the 26th of January to the 11th of February, we’ve got our next tour to India – can you give the Go Golfing community a little bit of a guide to what they can look forward to when they come to India?
At all the courses we have, caddies by default will be paired with every golfer. That’s kind of like a luxury, but as Vikram mentioned, it always helps in a way.
They know the golf course better and they were able to guide you and many times when I come and, and play, hell, they will even tell me which after looking at me how I’m playing, they will even hand over the clubs to me saying that ‘no, you play with the with the seven rather than playing with a with a 6,’ so they, they kind of, like, understand you so well because they do it.
They lay out and their suggestions, and in fact sometimes they will even change your angle of your body by saying to ‘hit the shot like that’ and that kind of like shows the expertise and they know their course.
We are also with all the golfers. Every two golfers will have a golf cart to themselves now, which we can drive around at the at the course, and that’s standard in places.
The only thing is going to be different will be Jaipur because it’s a walking course, it’s very short course that we definitely will have a caddy as well.
Peter India, the very fantastic destination because it offers you a mix of traditional and modern. It’s, it’s beautiful when it comes to his colour, textures and they were saying in, in our travel community that India never fails to surprise as visitors and India really loves it when it comes to that.
Now the tour begins in Delhi which is the capital of India.
In Delhi, other than the sight seeing that will be happening over a period of three days. Your guests will be enjoying a game at the deli, golf course and the ITC with Classic.
And from here on in addition to what we have also done is that when non golfers we have made some really special interesting arrangements or the experiences that, that they can go and enjoy themselves if they’re not playing golf.
And from here we moved to Agra where the Taj Mahal is. On the way to Agra, again, your golfers are playing at the JP Greens and for non golfers we can arrange for a spa if they would like to have some foot massage or head massage there is a great spa in that hotel – beautiful!
Now, after Taj Mahal where we’ll be moving to Jaipur, which is a historic city for many ways is the place when you are arriving to north to with it because of his history its colour, its texture, its food.
We’ve organised some really interesting experiences for Go Golfing people who are coming and from there you play at the Rhamba Golf Course
Now, Rhamba Golf Course was a private golf course of the then Maharaja of Jaipur which is now open for public. Even the hotel which guests are staying is at Taj Jamhil. Again, it was at some point in time the Maharaja’s private residence in Delhi.
Coming back to Delhi – In Delhi also we have upgraded the group with this beautiful, iconic, landmark hotel called Taj Mal, which is literally 3 or 4 minutes away from the Deli Golf course in Agra.
In Agra again, you’re staying at the beautiful Taj Hotel coming back from Jaipur.
We’ll be taking a flight to Pune to a place for – and your group will be playing at the Oxford Golf Course.
They’re also staying at a beautiful Taj hotel and from there they’ll be drive to Mumbai, where again the group is ending at the iconic Taj Mahal Hotel which is, by far, the second most photographed hotel in the world. It’s right at the Bombay Gateway, so that’s pretty much about the tour.
In these tours we have some really great experiences which are lined up from cooking demonstrations with a local family, with Mumbai By Dawn Walk in the morning, which is a fantastic walk which kind of like gives you an insight into how the – Mumbai – the city wakes up, we’ll take them to the fishing docks where the fishermen bring the catch of the day and then they sell it to the retail market.
We’re taking you to flower market, to the vegetable markets and so on. And likewise, in Delhi, we have organised some great experiences such as Rickshaw Ride in Old Delhi in the morning after a visit to the iconic Jahma Mahzit – one of the biggest mosques in India, which was commissioned by a mogul emperor, who – the same gentleman mogul who commissioned Taj Mahal, so there are some really great mix of the on-ground experiences and, at the same time, visiting some of the iconic monuments and historic sites.
Yes, I know the feedback from previous tours has been highly complimentary of the other experiences on the Indian Tour – dressing up in sarees for a dinner, those sorts of experiences that create wonderful memories amongst the touring group – the visits to the Taj Mahal – my father was a builder in his early days, and he just looked at the workmanship in the Taj Mahal and said he’s not seen anything like that anywhere in the world. He was duly impressed.
So, the itinerary looks fantastic. And as you mentioned, thanks to our friends at Taj Hotels, we’ve had a significant upgrade to the accommodation for this particular tour.
Oh, absolutely. We have upgraded the hotel in Delhi which ever said that is an iconic Taj hotel and that way the Taj hotels were very, very generous to do that at no additional cost.
And the reason is that that because we genuinely would like to welcome the Go Golfing community in India and the idea is to showcase the best of India to them. And that is why when we had a chat with our friends at Taj in Australia they were happy to upgrade the guests.
Yeah, so we we did have a sold out tour to India in 2020 at the back end of 2020 but, unfortunately, COVID knocked out all of the tours for that year, India included.
So, we’ve got some significant upgrades. We’ve been able to keep the tour price exactly the same when everything in the world has become more expensive. We’ve been able to deliver India at the same tour cost.
I can tell you I’ve seen the smiles, I’ve seen the fun, I’ve seen the joy that people have had when they travelled to India and the experiences that they have and it is a country like no other.
Peter India is safe as anywhere else in the world and I’m talking about developed nations and specially the urban population is careful -they understand the space, they’re very respectful of that.
The important element here is that all the guests coming in with go golfing. They’re staying in one of the finest hotels and are playing in all of the finest golf courses.
What you deliver, the Taj hotels, the amazing golf courses, the interaction with caddies and the local members, besides seeing the markets and the comfort and safety and the welfare of our guests, means that India is a much-celebrated destination.
It’s ready to welcome tourists and we look forward to being there in January from the 26th of January to the 12th of February to host our Indian Golf Tours. So, for the viewers out there thinking of travelling to India? We’d love you to join us.
Thank you very much Peter and thank you very much for taking the time out and to do this video chat.
Happy to thank you for your support. We, we do appreciate it.
To see the full itinerary click here